Norfolk Portsmouth Belt Line
HO Scale Model Railroad by Bob Langer

Norfolk & Portsmouth Belt Line

My model railroad is located in what most home owners would call the second bedroom. I live in Suffolk, Virginia not far from the Rail Link tracks. This was the railroad I thought I wanted to model. The advantages of proximity had was very enticing. I would be able to see and photograph the different locations along the line. The photos I have of the engines are lettered for the Commonwealth Railroad and have a very colorful paint scheme. That turned out to be a problem. Painting is not my thing. There wasn't any way I would be able to duplicate the color scheme.

The solution to my problem was discovered while attempting to research the Commonwealth. I found a book written by Robert J. Yanosay titled "Tidewater Triangle". The author had an interest in trains and spent a lot of time in Hampton Roads while in the Navy. When time allowed Mr. Yanosay traveled the area to document and photograph all of the railroads in Tidewater.

One of the railroads was the Norfolk Portsmouth Belt Line. Further research in the public library resulted in the discovery of W. Hugh Mooman's book "Virginia's Belt Line Railroad: The Norfolk & Portsmouth, 1898 - 1997". This book details the NPBL from when the idea was conceived until 1997. Mr. Mooman focused much of his attention to the history of the day to day operations. The author was given the access to the NPBL archives. Using the archives he was able to quote from the original documents, letters and memos.

The NPBL is attractive to me because it is local and small.  At least small relative to a class 1 railroad. I am also able to travel a very short distance to see the businesses and industries that were serviced.

Another reason is the simple paint scheme adopted around 1985 when it sold all of its EMD SW1200 hp locomotives. This was a paint scheme I could come close to duplicating, black with NPBL in white letters.